Friday, December 20, 2013

What a lottery: chances and money

Next Sunday Spain holds Christmas El Gordo Lottery, one of the most expected and well linked to collective memory events on these holidays.



Although the amount of the jackpot is not, even remotely, the highest current gambling, this draw is such that "El Gordo" (literally, ‘The Fat’), has gone beyond its current definition and also serves to define something unexpected, both if it is very good news as if it is a very bad. By definition, the Information Security has to deal with the bad news ;-) And when speaking of lotteries we are talking about two things: probability and money. So, and like ‘El Gordo’ deals five top prizes, these would be the five biggest prizes today.

The first prize goes to last credit and debit cards security breach which we mentioned yesterday Thursday, and it has undoubtedly become this weeks news. The number of cards affected rises to 40 million, and the attack has been such that the experts agree on two things: first, that this is a turning point in the financial threat, and the second, and this is really a Christmas “Gordo”, that they can’t explain how this breach could happen.

Let’s hand second prize to the president of the Israel Space Agency, Yitzhak Ben-Israel, who is also one of the most renowned international experts in cybersecurity. In a recent interview for the Colombian El Tiempo, Ben-Israel reviews the four major types of current threats (cyber criminals, mafia organizations, ideological struggle, and States). And if probabilities are the key point, the expert pulls no mincing words: "We are all exposed to cyber attacks."

The third prize goes to one of the most persistent attack ways over the years attack: Denial of Service or DDoS. The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Poland has just detected a new specialized malware on Windows and, catch this, Linux systems, to put millions of computers slaves for this kind of attacks. Again, be careful where you click, the risk is just around the corner.

We must give the fourth prize, sold in the same location as the first one, to all those guys who strive to repeat again and again the advices to avoid theft of information. CNN’s economic section summarized them in four steps, which may seem too basic but that is why they are often forgotten: first, check the current account regularly; second, contact your bank, or your credit card company; third, replace your card or change your PIN code; fourth and finally, hire a fraud monitoring service.

The fifth prize is the less substantial, but we must monitor it closely because tomorrow it may be a resounding "Christmas Gordo": the virtual currency Bitcoin. Two scares have just whipped its users: the suspension of operations by China largest operator, China BTC Exchange, and the detection of a new version of the Gameover malware, which in turn is an evolution of scary Zeus Trojan, and could be related to that suspension of operations.

Unlike what happens with the lottery, you have high chances that you touch any of these awards. So do not let your guard down, it is also your responsibility.

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